Black cabs were the real ‘taxis’ in London, till before 2001 at least- as this was the year the Private Hire mini cabs got licensed. Now there are two types of taxis, courtesy of the Private Hire Vehicles and the Hackney Carriages.
HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?
Coming down to it, what is the difference between these two ‘taxi’ types? Here are some of the principal distinctions in the two:
BLACK CABS- THE TRADITIONAL TAXI OF LONDON
Also known as the Hackney carriages, these are the time-honored and established taxis of London, the ones you can hail on the road or pick up at an allocated taxi rank. The drivers who drive these taxis are very well informed on the routes and overall topography of London- using The Knowledge as their navigation method. The fares are meter-based and compared to the fares of minicabs they are fairly expensive- although these taxis are the perfect option for instant travel. That is, you don’t have to pre-book them and can easily get a Tolworth Taxis just by whistling!
The driver has to always display his license/badge along with his license plate. There is a strict check on the license of black cab drivers and any complaints regarding them are taken into serious consideration along with appropriate steps that are taken to rectify the situation. Any misdemeanors/ misbehaviors reported are dealt with accordingly.
The black cabs are the right choice if you are looking for a quick, by the book and safe ride to any nearby location in town and would not mind spending some extra cash on the ride- as stated earlier; black cabs are metered.
MINI CABS THE TAXIS WITH A MODERN TWIST
Mini cabs are also licensed taxis (since 2001) and are cars that are available to hire with a driver only on a pre-booked basis either via the mini cab office or apps. These mini cabs cannot be flagged down the road or taken up at a tax rank, it is not legal for them to be hailed on the road and those mini cabs actually offering that are not sure to be safe and secure and are obviously illegal. The drivers navigate through the traffic using satellite navigation. The fares are fixed and not based on meter readings, which makes mini cabs a much cheaper option as compared to the black cabs. People prefer mini cabs for longer journeys like when travel out of town because, as stated earlier, the fares are much more affordable.
Mini cabs are offered various types like Saloon cars, estate cars, executive cars, people carriers, mini vans etc. The mini cab drivers are not required to take the test The Knowledge unlike the black cab drivers and thus do not have as extensive knowledge regarding London as them. The standard of mini cab drivers as well as the vehicles themselves is quite different as compared to black cabs and their drivers.
However, mini cabs are the right option when you want to go on a long journey and save some money. There are many mini cab firms in London that are reliable and hold a good reputation for providing safe and trustworthy mini cabs and drivers.
Overall, London taxis and mini cabs stand apart due to their fare and reputation and also their reliability but suiting to your needs you can hire either one of them. Depends on whether you like to whistle to get to a cab or call one up!